Patriots Trade Proposal Unloads $6 Million Defender for Draft Pick

Bill Belichick

Getty Bill Belichick could trade Jalen Mills despite a new deal in 2023.

The New England Patriots already attempted parting ways with defensive back Jalen Mills once this year.

Bleacher Report’s Alex Ballentine proposes that the Patriots do it again for draft capital in a trade with the Green Bay Packers. The Patriots could save $2.29 million in salary cap space and acquire a fifth-round pick in 2024 as Ballentine sees it.

“The Patriots originally intended to cut Mills this offseason but changed their mind and reworked his contract to a one-year deal,” Ballentine wrote. “Perhaps the allure of adding a draft pick could convince them to give up the do-it-all veteran defensive back.”

Green Bay needs defensive back depth due to injuries, particularly Eric Stokes‘ knee and foot injuries. Ballentine noted that Stoke went on the Physically Unable to Perform list at the start of training camp, and his return date remains unknown.

“The trio of Stokes, Jaire Alexander and Rasul Douglas is one of the best in the league when healthy. But it gets dicey pretty quickly from there,” Ballentine wrote.

Patriots’ Contract Decision Doesn’t Bother Jalen Mills

For now, Mills has a one-year contract with the Patriots worth up to $6.1 million per ESPN’s Mike Reiss. Mills previously had a four-year, $24 million deal before the Patriots gave him a new deal in March — something that doesn’t bother him, he says.

“Man, that’s in the past now. Yeah man, it’s in the past,” Mills said in a June press conference. “I’m here. I’m happy. I wanted to be a Patriot. I’m here.” However, asked if he would define those few days as a ‘whirlwind,’ he shut the topic down saying “I don’t want to speak on that.”

Jalen Mills Embraces Change to Safety

Mills also embraces the position change the Patriots assigned him. He is moving from cornerback to safety this year.

“Not really,” Mills said about whether or not he expected the move. “Here with the Patriots, everything is a little bit unexpected. But when your number’s called, you have to be ready.”

Mills had a little fun with it beforehand when longtime star safety Devin McCourty retired in March. McCourty played for the Patriots from 2010 to 2022 and won three Super Bowls.

“Y’all know I really play safety right?” Mills Tweeted.

That’s not entirely new for Mills. He played the position with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2020 when he garnered 74 tackles, three pass deflections, a forced fumble, and an interception.

“It gives me the ability to not only show my versatility, but to be around the ball a little more and make more plays,” Mills said.

“We talk about the versatility of guys being able to play every different thing, because now quarterbacks can’t just say, ‘OK, this guy’s going to be here, this guy’s going to be here, this is what they’re in,’” Mills added.

Last season, Mills tallied two interceptions, 31 tackles, and five pass deflections for the Patriots in 2022. The eighth-year veteran has 361 tackles, seven interceptions, and 52 pass deflections in his career.

Philadelphia originally selected Mills out of LSU with a seventh-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. Mills played five seasons, four at cornerback, for the Eagles and helped the team win a Super Bowl for the 2018 season — against the Patriots. He signed with the Patriots in 2019.

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